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The clash of practice: political controversy and the United Nations Peacebuilding commission

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Abstract:

Controversy is at the heart of politics. Theories of practice offer a productive way of understanding controversies and potentially negotiating in them. In this paper, drawing on the work of Theodore Schatzki, Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, I introduce a heuristic for understanding controversies. I argue that what is often at stake in controversies are different types of practices of how a political issue should be handled. I introduce five of these types of practices. I analyse a case from global politics to demonstrate the value of such a perspective – the controversies in the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission are analysed as clashes between different practices of handling peacebuilding.

Keywords: INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS; PEACEBUILDING; POLITICAL CONTROVERSY; PRACTICE THEORY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/174426411X579216

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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